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How England Or The United States Can Win The 2018 World Cup Bid

USA and England badgesThe United States announced this week that it’s interested in hosting the 2018 World Cup. No surprise there. They’ve been talking about bidding for the 2018 World Cup for quite some time although an official campaign launch isn’t expected until later this summer. However, the British media treated the news as a revelation and a threat to England’s own 2018 World Cup bid, but I have a solution which may satisfy both camps.

World Cup 2018 will be one of the most competitive bidding processes. In addition to heavyweight bids such as England and the USA, other countries interested in bidding are Russia, China, Australia, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Canada, the Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) and a joint bid by Israel and Palestine.

It would be a massive achievement for either England or the United States to win the bid against those countries. Both face stiff competition from countries that have never hosted the tournament. Plus FIFA will be salivating at the prospect of expanding the World Cup into countries that would generate huge amounts of revenue from new sponsors (yes, I’m looking at you China).

My plan to make the 2018 World Cup the best one yet is simple. Instead of competing against each other and offering weaker bids, England and the United States should join together and launch a joint bid.

You may think the idea is ridiculous, but consider the following arguments:

  1. Joint bids are all the rage right now. Euro 2008 will be hosted by Austria and Switzerland. Euro 2012 will be hosted by Poland and Ukraine. World Cup 2002 was hosted by South Korea and Japan. So, without a doubt, the precedent has been set.
  2. The distances between the United Kingdom and United States are not a concern. The driving time between the two farthest cities in this summer’s Euro 2008 competition (Geneva to Vienna) is more than nine hours (the mode of transport used by teams in the tournament will be buses). We all know how convenient it is to fly from the UK to the States, so consider the following flying times for direct flights between the recommended eight host cities:
    1. London to New York: 7 hours, 25 minutes
    2. Manchester to Chicago: 8 hours, 15 minutes
    3. London to Miami: 9 hours, 5 minutes
    4. Bristol to Newark: 7 hours, 55 minutes
    5. Birmingham to Newark: 7 hours, 50 minutes

Birmingham and Bristol are preferred over other cities in England because they have direct flights to and from the United States. If the FA wants to expand the number of cities that host matches in the UK, that’s fine as long as they’re within close driving range to airports in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol. The FA has already discussed the possibility of Bristol being selected as a host city, so a new stadium would need to be built there (groundsharing between Bristol City and Bristol Rovers would be the smart choice). Birmingham would be an ideal choice for building a new, larger stadium (or Villa Park could be used).

The US cities would be primarily east coast locations except for Chicago (Soldier Field). New York could have its own stadium by 2018. Stadiums in other cities could include Meadowlands (near Newark, New Jersey) and Dolphin Stadium (Miami).

The United States and England combining forces would present a formidable bid. Sure, there’ll be plenty of egos and pride at stake, so it’s possible that England’s FA (Football Association) wouldn’t consider the idea, but if the race gets more competitive, the best opportunity to bring the World Cup back to England may be to join forces with the country that hosted the most successful World Cup in its history, the United States (World Cup 94).

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  1. Simon

    May 29, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Quite right KatKid and by minnows I was saying based on success internationally and domestically. No argument here on Stadium size though I have to suffer the pain that is RFK stadium – it has plenty of seats but its not a good stadium. .. Though if they were to host a World Cup I am sure it would get a quick upgrade.

    That said FIFA shouldnt be awarding the World Cup on stadium capacity or quality.

  2. eplnfl

    May 29, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Sign me up!

    Any plan allowing WC games to be played in Chicago meets with my approval! A joint proposal would meet with a warm reception in the US, I would have serious doubts that you’ll find many if any supporters in England. Lest we forget, Englands primary reason for hosting a WC is to give their squad a leg up on getting to the finals and winning. So, the English FA to sign on to the deal would have to be assured that all England games, must be played on home soil.

    For the US Soccer Association, and more importantly ESPN, who’s financial support for the games will be more important for every WC here on in, having a local venue works just fine and increases their revenue and works well.

  3. Paul Bestall

    May 29, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Bristol could quite easily support a 50,000 stadium. City have underperformed for a couple of decades but a successful side could look to getting 34-40,000 a match. Figure in the Rugby Union side and there’s nothing wrong with it. As far as I am aware, City and Bristol RFC are looking to build a new joint 40,000 stadium.

  4. Matt

    May 29, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Where to begin to explain how stupid this idea is? The fact England has many top class stadiums already but yet you suggest sticking one in Bristol?! So you think Bristol City or Rovers would fill a new 50k plus stadium? Right! What about Newcastle (52k), new Liverpool stadium (60k)?
    I doubt anyone in either country would support such a bid and it really is a stupid idea! Sorry Gaffer!!

  5. The Gaffer

    May 29, 2008 at 10:42 am

    Kat Kid,

    Yes, seriously!

    Both England and the United States — separately — will launch very aggressive and convincing bids. It’ll probably end up like Hilary vs Obama. Two great candidates, but they’re doing the Democrat party a disservice by focusing so much of their energies on trying to win the bid, when someone like McCain (i.e. Russia or China) may sneak up behind them and win the whole thing.

    England and the United States would be stronger if they submitted a joint bid. And I don’t see the US or England getting the WC in 2018 and then the loser of those two getting the 2022 WC.

    The Gaffer

  6. betsy's bolton bum baster

    May 29, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Okay I’m totally against joint bids. One thing it gives automatic bids to one or sometimes two usually mediocre teams. I’d rather just one large, wealthy nation with the proper infrastructure host it. At this point that would rule out many Asian, African and South American nations. England, Russia, US, Canada or Australia are the only nations I see coming out as true contestants. Russia would be quite the opponent because they definitely ran the UEFA CL final without a single hitch, inside the stadium or out.

  7. kat kid

    May 29, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Saying that the US are “minnows” is fine when discussing the relative success of the national team and the domestic league.

    But do yourself a favor and peruse and see how many stadia over 50,000 there are in the U.S. and how many there are in the U.K. or any European country for that matter.

    The variety, location and size of venues (with the interest and population to support them) in the U.S. is unparalleled until China starts building stadiums, but even then the relative wealth and diversity of nationalities is laughable.

    The U.S. will sell out or approach capacity for every game. Why? Because Italian Americans will be rooting for Italy. French Americans/ Canadians will be rooting for France. Swedish-Americans will be rooting for Sweden. Latinos for Spain/Mexico. Many of all ethnicities for Brasil etc. etc. Outside of Europe where the relative location allows for all of the big European countries to be well represented, the U.S. is by itself in this regard.

    There are obviously many reasons to host it elsewhere, but the US has some things going for it. Further, the idea that the US should “rally behind” England’s bid is strange. The US wants a bid, if it doesn’t get it then it may or may not have a secondary preference.

    Back to the original point:

    Gaffer. Seriously?

  8. Simon Burke

    May 29, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Oh dear Gaffer – stay off the booze.
    Its one thing for Scotland and Wales to do a joint bid and Austria/Switzerland. They are small and need the help.
    Neither England or the US will need help and flight prices between the 2 by 2018 will be astronomical. If for any reason you have to play in England, then the US and then England again that will be a terrible price to incur should your team get so far.

    England hasnt had it since 66 – end of argument. AMerica may be used to hosting the Olympics every 12 years but in Soccer they are minnows compared to the established football nations and dont deserve a World Cup anytime soon. I live here and I would love them to get it but if I am being unbiased it shouldnt be anytime soon.

  9. TT

    May 29, 2008 at 9:13 am

    Would be nice to see ‘The United States and England combining forces’ again.

    Brilliant idea, gaffer.

  10. Dave M

    May 29, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Totally nutters. I’d like to see England get it, then USA soon after, but this is just crazy. Just because teams traveling by bus in the Euros face a nine hour drive for the farthest distance… you can’t automatically say that’s where the bar is set. You don’t think they’re happily accepting the nine hour bus ride, do you?

  11. tyduffy

    May 29, 2008 at 7:08 am

    Gaffer – This is nutty. The purpose of the joint bids was to grant nations who weren’t big enough to do so alone the opportunity to host. Combining the U.S. and England into a super bid would only infuriate voting parties anymore.

    It also only theoretically makes sense if the matches are all played in Boston and N.Y. and even then it is a stretch. Try figuring out whether the final would be held in the U.S. or at Wembley.

  12. Football Bet Man

    May 29, 2008 at 6:29 am

    This is a joke right?

    I knew it was when i saw the bit about Israel/palestine doing a joint bid. That’s even more farsical than the idea of USA and England!

    USA had their WC in ’94. England (one of the worlds great footballing nations) haven’t had a pop at it since ’66.

    USA should get behind Englands bid. I have no doubt thye would hold a great tournament; all the ingredients are there – football mad country, great infastructure, fantastic stadiums, good team. Ok ok the last one was a joke!

  13. The Gaffer

    May 29, 2008 at 5:19 am


    The 1994 World Cup was the most successful in history based on the highest overall attendance for the tournament. And that was when there were 24 teams, not 32.

    There are a ton of pundits worldwide (many of them in the UK) who have proclaimed WC94 as the most successful WC. It was well organized and successfully run.

    Looks like FIFA has scrapped the rotation policy.

    The Gaffer

  14. Ant

    May 29, 2008 at 5:12 am

    How was USA ’94 the most successful World Cup in it’s history?

    I’m willing to accept that there may be something I’m not aware of, but it seems a weighty statement to make without justifying it.

    Otherwise, although you argue the case well, it seems a bit ridiculous to have joint hosting nations on separate continents.

    I can’t ever really see it happening. Plus do FIFA still have the rotating continents policy? Or was that abolished recently?

  15. Utd fan

    May 29, 2008 at 4:03 am

    East coast only? No thanks.

  16. Paul Bestall

    May 29, 2008 at 3:13 am

    Alternatively, how about the USA supporting Englands 2018 bid and thenthe UK supporting a 2022 World Cup in the USA.
    Mexico have had it twice, The Benelux region and Canada do not have the level of support domestically, China and Australia I’d rule out until at least 2026. Spain? maybe but still held it since England last held it. Portugal just had the Euros and Greece is an absolute non starter as the abysmal organisation of the Champions League final and their domestic league shows. The Israel/ Palestine option is a complete pipe dream. Zimbabwe has more chance of hosting it than those two!

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